Best Basketball Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Since the inception of basketball, players and fans alike have been on the hunt for the perfect shoe. One of the originals, the iconic Chuck Taylor created by Marquis Converse paved the way for competitor companies to insert themselves into the shoe industry as well. Not long after, companies like Nike and Puma stepped into the scene, creating shoes that hold legendary status to this day, such as the Nike Blazer and the Puma Clyde.
As you would expect, basketball shoe companies have and always will consistently find ways to improve the performance of their shoes if they are to stay relevant in the industry, utilizing various materials such as flywire technology, specialized leather, mesh and more. Obviously, shoe configuration is also important. Shapeshifting the form of basketball shoes to perform better in terms of their ability to allow the player to be quick on their feet, stable and most important, feel natural on the court.
- Nike HyperDunk 2017
- Powerboost midsole
- Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017
- Anatomic lacing distribution
- Adidas CrazyLight Boost
- One-Piece sock-like construction
Famed and sponsored basketball players such as Lebron James and Kevin Durant have been at the forefront of faces in the industry, and together with the shoe companies, conceived some of the greatest shoes out today. With Durant having as many as nine shoes currently tied to his name and Lebron as many as twelve, they together are making a large impact in the basketball shoes created. Being that Basketball is one of the most popular sports, the evolution of the overall quality in shoes made for it and material used was inevitable.
In this list, we take a look at the top fifteen best basketball shoes of the yearly era, and evaluate the important aspects and values of the shoes.
15 Best Basketball Shoes
1. Nike Hyperdunk 2017
When traditional cushioning isn’t enough, Nike’s react technology has your back (or rather your feet). Foam can normally be lightweight or it can be resilient, but with this innovative approach, it can be both. The cushioning core allows your feet to sink in the cushioning and makes use of the impact energy to bounce back to its original state. Thanks to this, underfoot support is delivered during every moment of the game.
Outsoles normally react as a single element that distributes energy equally throughout itself, but Nike takes it to the next level. Their pressure-mapped outsoles react to the pressure of your feet to deliver targeted cushioning and traction on the desired area. Thanks to this, users can make use of their energy much more efficiently at the time of jumping, dribbling, running and pivoting.
When the ground hits you, the Hyperdunk 2017 hits right back. By making use of the force generated by impact, these shoes are able to impulse each of your motions forward. This not only allows you to move faster and achieve explosive jumps, but it also reduces the amount of energy you have to invest into each motion. Your previous movement will impulse the actual one, and the next one after that.
Breathable, comfortable, and supportive
Top-notch functionalities and technologies
Popular and very good aesthetics
A responsive approach saves you effort
The outsole design makes it easy to get dirt on it if used outside the court
2. Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017
Laces that tighten your upper foot are a thing of the past; Adidas’ lacing system is carefully designed to resemble the anatomical shape of feet. Because of this, the pressure from the laces is distributed effectively throughout the whole frame. This brings the materials closer together to provide you with just exactly the amount of support you’re looking for. Double loops assure a durable lifetime.
You can hardly get any lighter and comfortable than primeknit fabric when it comes to basketball shoes upper build. This thin, yet resistant material wraps around your foot and adapts to its shape, generating the same amount of support to feet of all shapes and sizes. The fabric is highly breathable and makes it feel like you’re inserting your feet into a cloud. When wearing this fabric, discomfort loses its meaning.
Adidas believes in one simple standard; the more energy you give, the more energy you get back. With the boost technology, the Craze Explosive 2017 is one of the most responsive basketball shoes you can get your hands on. Upon impact, the boost technology absorbs most of the shock and uses some of it to impulse your next motion. The harder the gait, the more impulse you’ll receive for the next step.
Utterly light and comfortable upper build fabric
Responsive boost energy-returning system
Unique anatomical lacing system
Sock-like bootee construction
Rubber outsole wraps the midsole and enhances traction
The traction rubber outsole wrap isn’t as durable when used outdoors
3. Nike Kevin Durant 10
The sensibility of the Kevin Durant series was redesigned the offer you the most sensations when playing basketball. Instead of clouding your underfoot, this model allows your feet to be part of the grip. By incorporating your senses into the game, the KD 10 gives you total control over the court. Your feet will become one with this pair and the court, leading to much smoother, faster and controlled motions.
Zoom Air unit
Compressed air has proven to be one of the best methods to absorb shock. Nike’s Zoom Air unit in particular does a unique job at this; the unit not only compresses upon impact and mitigates shock, but it decompresses afterwards and releases the energy. The air unit is visually located just above the outsole and is integrated with the internal midsole design to provide the upmost cushioning.
Foam heel counter
In basketball, the only times where you’re not moving is when the ball leaves the court. All this movement generates stress on the Achilles tendon and the back heel if the counter is not cushioned properly. A foam layer that covers a highly supportive heel counter comforts your feet even when they bounce back against the counter.
Additional heel and backheel support
Effortless wear and removal
Improved natural feel
Air cushioning reduces dribling effort
Viewed by some as inferior to its predecessor
4. Adidas Derrick Rose 8
One of the features that made the D Rose 7 stand out was the incredibly traction that it offered. The stopping power on the 7 really took the shoe to a new level, and thankfully that hasn't been changed much in the D Rose 8. The level of traction is pretty much on par with the 7, and the rubber on the outsole has been upgraded to be significantly more durable. While the 7 was only an indoor shoe, the 8 can now hold it's own outdoors as well.
The upper on the D Rose 8 has been changed from the thicker neoprene to a more thinner foam back mesh upper. This change has made the shoe a more lighter upgrade, as well as more flexible in the ankle area. There are ventilation cut outs along the shoe for enhanced breathability, and overall the D Rose 8 seems to offer up a better and snugger fit than the 7 did.
Cost and Value
The D Rose 8's are actually cheaper than their predecessor, so you can save yourself some money by upgrading. The reasoning is that the 7 is now offered in a primeknit, which the 8 isn't, so you're always going to save some cash when you get mesh instead. Talk is that the 8 will eventually drop in a primeknit upper, but it hasn't happened yet and when it does it will more than likely increase the price.
Full Length Boost
Thicker Rubber Outsole
360 Degree Traction
Mesh Cut Outs for Breathability
Lighter and More Flexible Upper
Sizing Runs Smaller
More Narrow Interior
5. Nike Lebron XV
The improvement of the Flyknit material makes it more resistant, flexible and stretchy than ever. Its evolution, the BattleKnit, is specifically engineered and design for the LeBron XV based on the performance and style of LeBron James himself. The fabric compresses your feet to the most optimal point, providing a completely locked-in feel throughout entire matches no matter how rough or fast your perform each motion.
For the first time in Nike’s basketball shoe history, both Nike Zoom and Max Air technologies have been implemented in a single pair of shoes at the same time. By combining two of their leading technologies, Nike has achieved a superior level of cushioning with the LeBron XV. This combinations makes hard landings and sudden moves much easier on your body, providing enough cushioning to even the most powerful ballers.
As if the shoes weren’t comfortable enough already, the inner build is fully covered by a thin sleeve that resembles the fit of a sock. The sleeve provides an extra dose of support and counts with an easily stretchable collar that wraps your ankle for a much securer fit. Additionally, the collar makes it much easier to put the shoes on and to take them off as well.
First model to ever incorporate both Nike Zoom and Max Air technologies
Astoundingly comfortable during performance
Flyknit fabric has been upgraded to the new BattleKnit
Easy to wear and take off
The height of the shoe may affect the stability of users that haven’t worn the LeBron series in the past
6. Under Armour Curry 4
The Curry 3 overall was a pretty bland shoe, that didn't really make the splash that it was hoping to. Thankfully that underwhelming response to the 3 spurred more effort to be put in to the 4, and in turn we now have a shoe with great traction and stopping power. The spacing design on the 4's outsole also reduces the amount of dirt and debris it picks up, keeping them cleaner and longer lasting.
Cushioning and Bounce
Given how poor the cushioning and bounce was with the Curry 3, it should come as no surprise that there has been an upgrade with the midsole. While the 3 was overly stiff and lacked any real bounce, the 4 now has a bit more bounce and the heel compression has been upgraded. The midsole is thinner, giving you a lower feel, which actually adds to the comfort.
Cost and Value
The UA Curry 4 is pricey, there is no getting around that fact. While it certainly is an upgrade from the 3, whether or not it's enough of an improvement is going to really depend on what you like to get out of your basketball shoes. If you are able to snag yourself one of the unique colorways or packs, then this shoe is certainly worth that because it's a great addition to any sneakerhead's collection.
Snug Fit Via Internal Knit Sleeve
Microfiber Quarter Panelling
Underfoot Speed Plate
Enhanced Traction Pattern
Need to Be Broken In
7. Nike Lebron Soldier XI
The Soldier XI basketball shoe contours your feet in breathable and highly comfortable mesh that, despite being thin, compresses the foot and locks it down during performance. Furthermore, the closure consists of four individual elastic straps with a hook-and-loop closure system that will merge your foot with the boot. The innovative support system assures a locked fit throughout matches, training, and casual wear. It also leaves enough room to rotate and twist comfortable.
Like its predecessor, the LeBron XI is designed for minimalist and breathable comfort. The weight optimization of the material makes running, dribbling and jumping easier than ever, experiencing no shoe drag. The stretchy air mesh is backed with a layer of foam that maintains your foot fresh and in comfort on any game, on any court. Additionally, an intuitive construction optimizes the flow of fresh air through the shoe preventing overheating and excessive sweating.
Nike knows how important it is to count with the right amount of cushioning when playing basketball. This is why the LeBron Soldier XI delivers exactly what you need to perform on the harsh court; the Nike Zoom Air technology acts as an air pillow that sits under your heel and the ball of your feet. This system is nearly weightless and reduces a considerable amount of stress from your feet when playing basketball.
Extra ankle support with a soft molded foam around the ankle
Utterly lightweight design in general
Collar notches make it easy to put the shoes on
The rubber sole generates great traction on multiple surfaces, not just the court
The insole catches smells fairly quick and requires washing frequently (or replacing with a custom insole)
8. Adidas CrazyLight Boost
This shoe has Boost energy returning properties, keeping the players steps charged, returning the energy to the user to elongate performance. The Jacquard synthetic and textile upper makes this piece very comfortable and it has a snug fit. Its continental rubber adds significantly more grip to the floor, whether it be wet or dry.
The Adidas Crazy Boost has a molded heel collar and heel cap, offering that nice heel fit and added stability while playing. A nice addition is the ventilated tongue technology. This tech decreases the amount of heat within the shoe, ventilating cool air in and hot air out.
Cost and Value
Coming in cheap, the Adidas Crazy Boost is priced at a small bargain. It is easily one of the cheapest shoes on the list. But cheap doesn’t determine quality, for this shoe is still a monster. Equipped with lots of Adidas basketball technology and a cheap price, the Crazy Boost is a serious foe on this list.
Crazy Boost energy share
Jacquard synthetic and textile/ Continental Rubber
Good for wet and dry conditions
Are known to be a bit bulky
9. Nike Air Jordan XXXII
With the Air Jordan series, the XXXII particularly, you get much more from less. This means that the supportive qualities are enhanced while weight and volume are reduced. The highly breathable flyknit fabric allows air to flow absolutely free within the shoe – on top of that, it has a very soft touch and resembles the feel of a thin sock. The flyknit expands according to your feet, delivering a customized level of support.
Nike’s Zoom Air cushioning system is present in the Air Jordan XXXII, providing your heels and feet balls with the protection and comfort they need when performing on hardwood courts. The low-profile technology is highly efficient while still minimalist, adding no bulk and consuming as less space as possible. The air cushion is not only lightweight but also responsive, using your own effort to push you forward in every game.
You won’t run short on your games when owning the Air Jordan XXXII. Forefoot FlightSpeed technology contrasts the Nike Zoom Air and makes a much more efficient distribution of pressure when hitting the court. By optimizing the distribution of tension, the shoes allow you to focus on a specific point of your feet to achieve the most powerful explosion when jumping, running, or dribbling.
Laces integrate with the Flyknit fabric for comfortable support
Internal foam in the heel and collar for comfort
Solid rubber sole for durability and multi-surface traction
The outsole is hard to clean if you wear them outdoors
10. Adidas Cloudfoam Ilation Mid
While many of the shoes we have looked at have been high tops, that doesn't mean mids don't have a place on the court. The Adidas Cloudfoam is a great example of a mid shoe that is going to help you play better, give you more traction, and still give you the support you need. Going from a high to a mid also reduces some weight, and the Cloudfoam is one of the lightest shoes on our list.
Comfort and Cushioning
The Cloudfoam sports a Cloudfoam sockliner and mid-sole. This makes an already lightweight shoe more awesome than it already was, by giving in the added cushioning and bounce it needs to perform well. Perforations are added along on the sides, making it easier for the foot to breath and further lengthening play time, ridding of would be sweats.
Cost and Value
The Cloudfoam is a nifty shoe and for the price, a darn good and near tough one to beat. Though it may not come in many styles, there is always someone who will sport it and rock the Adidas name. And if not for style of it, the price will be sure to turn a few heads along the way.
Does not have the best traction
11. Reebok Shaq Attaq
Leather or mesh alone are not enough to provide the adequate amount of support and breathability, which is why this approach integrates both at the same time. The genuine leather makes the upper durable, stable, supportive and highly stress-resistant. At the same time, the integrated breathing mesh prevents the leather from isolating your feet in an overheating performance. To top it off, both compounds are superbly comfortable.
Injection-molded EVA midsole
Anyone who knows a thing or two about performance shoes (or has at least worn some) knows that there’s no loss in EVA midsoles. The compound is injected in a compressed manner that allows users to get the most out of each gait, jump, and dribble in an extremely minimalist matter. Go lighter and faster than ever while remaining in absolute comfort and protection provided by the EVA compound throughout every single minute of the match.
Custom traction sole
If an abrasion-resistant rubber sole isn’t enough for you, then the intuitive outsole pattern of the Shaq Attack may be your next favorite thing. The pattern was carefully engineered after scientific research on pressure distribution on each part of the shoe. The result is a speed-traction pattern on the heel and forefoot areas, analogized by easy-grip dots on the sides and tip of the outsole for smooth pivoting and lateral movement.
Smooth traction and solid grip
Intuitive weight-optimized technologies
Utterly comfortable and breathable upper
Lateral motion and pivoting support
Aimed at wide-feeted basketball players
12. Adidas Dual Threat 2017
A thorough analysis on basketball performance allows Adidas to provide you with just the right amount of cushioning to protect your feet and support your motions without weighing you down. This approach escapes from all previous cushioning standards, giving you a head advantage on anyone that would normally match your speed – if you dare to try.
The mid-top approach is different from any middle cut basketball shoe out there. This design aims for ankle support and mobility at the same time, preventing the ankle restrictions that are normally experienced in higher basketball performance boots. With 2017’s Dual Threat, you won’t need to sacrifice versatility in order to obtain support and stability regardless of the position you represent on the court.
Circular traction sole
The outsole pattern of this shoe is no coincidence as casual as it may look. Each line in there has a purpose, and the intuitive, scientifically-researched pattern is exactly what you need for sudden and forceful directional changes. With the impressive multi-directional grip you’re able to treat the court as an extension of your body, gripping and releasing as naturally as possible.
Rubber outsole is reinforced with synthetics on key traction areas
Laboratory-designed sole pattern
No ankle restrictions; extremely smooth
The breathing pores are easily obstructed by outdoor debris and dust
13. Adidas Harden Vol. 1
The low-cut release contradicts the preference and popularity of high basketball shoes, proving that speed is a game-changing factor when used properly. If you want to move like the fastest, the completely uncovered ankle approach is what you need for maximum rotation, flexibility, and running power. A lower top also means less weight, and as any professional basketball player will relate, every ounce represents a step ahead of your mark.
Cushioning is a critical factor on the court, but in basketball, it’s not all about absorbing shock. The energy-returning boost™ technology makes use of your own running power and momentum to put you a step forward from your opponent, returning some of the effort you put into each motion and using it to push you frontward. You’re getting more power with less effort.
Supportive midsole wrap
When moving fast, you need a shoe that can react as fast as you act. A supportive midsole wrap executes this task perfectly, assuring the midsole stays in its natural and most optimal position at all times. Thanks to this, your feet are prevented from swinging anywhere undesiredly, allowing you to focus completely on gaining as much speed as you can.
Harden’s final game stats marked on the sockliner
Wrapped midsole for maximum running efficiency
Energy-returning boost technology reveals your true potential
Exposed ankle design takes rotation to its maximum point
The white leather forefoot will get consistently dirty
14. Adidas Dame 4
As much as basketball players would like, an upper build made entirely of mesh isn’t supportive enough. The Dame series gave birth to the combination of neoprene and mesh upper build, which delivers the breathability of mesh with the chemicals qualities of the highly resistant and supportive neoprene. This combination of compounds will mold around your feet creating the right fit for each user individually, allowing your feet to expand the upper to a completely natural position.
The BOUNCE midsole cushioning technology is just as effective at absorbing as it is at releasing. This cushioning system resembles Adidas’ signature boost technology, except it counts with a basketball-specific twist to achieve the most power on the hardwood court. The more effort you put into your performance, the more power you’ll get out of this midsole.
Most people underestimate the importance of a reliable collar. This one in particular, made completely of the neoprene compound, is the cherry on the cake when it comes to support. Just when you thought your fit was totally locked, the neoprene collar prevents the shoe from sliding upward (or anywhere for that matter). The only reason you won’t forget it’s there is that it’s extremely comforting.
Outsole pattern inspired by Dame’s roots
Neoprene minimalist collar
Neoprene and mesh infused upper build
Optimized upper build breathing pores
The totally white aesthetic is troublesome to clean and its original color is easily affected by dirt
15. Nike Kyrie 3
No matter what the court you’re playing on is made of, you can absolutely rely on the traction of the Kyrie 3. No matter how fast or how strong, the supreme grip will give you absolute control over each of your motions on the game. The outsole design allows you to run as fast as you possibly can while still making you able to absolutely kill your momentum at the moment of taking a quick shot.
Speed in any direction
The intuitive construction makes this shoe suitable for every single position on the court. No matter how forceful you are, or in which direction you’re meant to move, you’re backed up by quick-action engineering. Move in any direction at any speed without experiencing any sort of sliding or inaccuracy when trying to plant yourself or move horizontally. Break ankles and prevent your ankles from breaking with the very same shoe.
The third Kyrie manages to blend together two opposite features: flexibility and support. This is achieved by a strong, elastic band located across the top of the footwear that will follow along any flex performed by your feet. Additionally, the Flywire technology holds the shoe together with highly resistant cables infused with the lacing system for even greater support.
Lack of support isn’t a thing
Suitable for players of all positions
Speed reaction in any direction – even backward
Wide color selection
The toe-tip material is easily scuffed in light-colored versions
These basketball shoes are incredible and show that shoe technology will continue to evolve. From the Lebrons to the Jordans to the Durants, there is really no right choice, however, there are tech goodies on every shoe that have the different performance capabilities and options different ball players need, no matter who you are.
If you’re a huge basketball sneaker freak or an avid player, this list is guaranteed for you. These shoes have legendary status, and we approve.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Basketball Shoes
While playing basketball your feet are going to incur high amounts of shock from the constant moving up and down the court. It’s because of that, you most importantly need a basketball shoe that gives you comfort as you run down the court. Look out for a shoe that has features designed to give your feet a nice fit. One such feature would be the breathable inner sleeve, which provides all around comfort over the feet like a sock. Another great feature to look out for would be the flyknit, which also gives a basketball player a comfort fit in the shoe when put on. If you’re not wearing a basketball shoe that makes your feet comfortable, you’ll be lacking a crucial tool in your ability to play at your highest level.
Realistically speaking, you can’t reach your peak performance if the equipment you’re using is not comfortable for you. Comfort is one of the most underestimated features, yet one of the most important at the same time. If a shoe creates discomfort, everything else won’t really matter – you won’t want to wear them regardless of how effective they are.
Some of the aspects that really affect ho comfortable a basketball shoe is going to be are:
- Interior Design:
Like mentioned, add ons like a sockliner or soft interior fabric will really make a significant difference to how the shoe feels while on. Also the width and length will be a huge determining factor, as a shoe that is too loose will allow your foot to slip around; a shoe that is too tight will cause friction and irritation and can affect circulation.
- Midsole Components:
If you really want the sole of your foot to feet good, then it is necessary to check out what the midsole is made of and how thick and bouncy it is. If you shoe lacks any bounce then you will have a stiff feeling that hinders your mobility. Too much bounce, and you lack that close to the ground feel that gives you maximum control.
- Overall Weight
The heavier the shoe the more it will slow you down, and this is true for every added ounce of weight. Depending on your size, opting for a lighter shoe can make a significant difference, and if you’re smaller in weight and stature then you want to look at low tops that are made with thinner materials. The bigger you are, the more you can go up in weight, but be conscious of how the shoe feels on your foot because as each minute on the clock ticks by that shoe will feel heavier.
- Supportive Materials
Nothing takes away from your level of comfort quite like an on court injury, so help prevent that by opting for a shoe that gives you support where you need it most. If you have had prior ankle injuries, look for a shoe that gives you a tighter fit up top and supports you. Materials such as mesh may reduce weight and add breathability, but an all mesh shoe won’t support your foot. Inspecting the material and design will keep you safer and more comfortable.
When playing any sport, particularly basketball, your feet can get hot and sweaty real fast. You want the best open material on your basketball shoe to keep your feet cool during the game as much as possible. If you wear a shoe that causes your feet to get too heated, you increase the risk of skin irritation and blisters occurring. A material you should really look out for is breathable mesh. This helps to allow more airflow to get into your shoe keeping your feet even cooler during the game. A basketball footwear that features synthetic will also pull off the same trick of maintaining cooling throughout the game. It’ll help you to have more endurance to move around late in the game.
At the same time, it’s important that these slim and breathable materials are supported by something a bit tougher. A continuous flow of fresh air within the shoe is paramount for a good basketball performance, but too much breathable materials will cause a lack of structure.
Generally, the best basketball shoes have breathable panels on areas where heat concentrates more commonly. Although this varies a lot based on the model, manufacturer, shape, design, and other parameters, these panels are generally located on the sides of shoes, on the upper foot and the toe box.
As mentioned before, the lack of breathability is a common cause of excessive sweating. At the same time, a large amount of sweat starts to become an obstacle while performing. Sweat can affect the internal traction of your feet and the insole, ultimately causing internal slipping. It will also contribute to the generation of bacteria which leads to odors that stick to your shoe and gradually start to smell worse.
Any shoe that is meant for an impact sport should count with enough cushioning. Basketball is a practice that involves both consistent impact and a lot of aerobic action as well. Because of this, it’s paramount that our feet are adequately protected by the shoe when performing such activities.
Cushioning, unlike many users believe, isn’t just a matter of comfortability. It’s also an important aspect of basketball performance. Although the cushioning doesn’t deal with impact directly, it makes sure that the residual energy that still reaches feet after shock absorption doesn’t harm the user.
But, performance shoe cushioning isn’t only limited to protecting feet from residual impact energy. Basketball involves a large variety of very different movements; movements which generate compression of the foot against the materials of the shoe. The cushioning materials also prevent your feet from damaging themselves against the internal materials of the shoe.
The external materials of basketball shoes are considerably rougher than the internal ones and are not meant to be in contact with feet during performance. The best basketball shoes include a layer of cushioning material that stands between the feet and the external layer of material. It acts as a cushioning wall that prevents damage caused by the tougher materials of the shoe.
Lacking cushioning isn’t really an option when it comes to basketball (or any sport for that matter really). The fact that it’s uncomfortable is enough reason alone to discard a basketball shoe that doesn’t feature enough of it. But, aside from that, the lack of cushioning will contribute to much faster muscular fatigue, as your muscles, bones, and joints will be more exposed to impact and vibration.
At the same time, you don’t want to get too much of it. Cushioning is made of soft, comfy materials; this means that they most likely lack structure and support for a sport like basketball. You don’t want to miss out on cushioning, but having two pillows in your shoes will affect the stability and firmness of each motion.
Needless to say, an optimal fit is required in order to play basketball comfortably. Performance shoes are very different from casual shoes in a large variety of aspects; many users make the mistake of comparing these two at the time of purchasing shoes.
In sports, a shoe that doesn’t fit properly isn’t an option. The ideal fit is one that compresses your feet slightly in order to provide support. It should leave no additional space aside from the thin gap of space between the feet and the materials that is required to twist and rotate freely.
The fit is also affected by the element of the shoe which is possibly the most underestimated one; the laces. A strong closure is a most to obtain the perfect fit for each user. As you probably know by now, nobody has the same feet, and thus it’s impossible to design a shoe that optimally fits all users.
To obtain the optimal fit, there are key areas of the shoe that you should take note of.
- Toe Box
You know the expression “rule of thumb”, while that’s exactly what you need to use when it comes to how your toes fit inside your shoe. Make sure there is about a thumbs width of space between where your toes end and where the shoe ends. Any closer, and your toes will be cramped and uncomfortable; less and there is too many space and your foot will slide.
- General Width
Your shoe shoe feel snug against the sides of your foot, but it should never compress your foot to the point where it’s in any way uncomfortable. Like a great hug, your foot should feel comforted, supported, and encased without any area being pinched. If you find synthetic shoes to be too tight on your foot, but good in length, try opting for a leather shoe instead. Leather will stretch and break in, giving you the correct length and allowing for some extra room to accommodate the width of your foot.
If your shoes feel at all heavy when you try them on, they are going to be way too heavy to play in. The longer you wear shoes the heavier they feel, and that’s true for even the lightest of models. Make sure you’re picking a pair that is the right weight for your size, and is easy and light to walk around in.
- Heel Support
The fit on your heel should be the most snug part of the shoe, and ideally you want to feel like your heel is locked in to place. This will help reduce injury to your feet, ankles, hips, and even back. Of course you don’t want it overly tight, but the heel should not be moving around or lifting when you walk.
The shoe frame itself is meant to compress your feet slightly, which is in part why they’re somewhat firm. If you were to wear basketball shoes without laces, you would still be able to feel the compression from the frame (given that you’re using the right sizing, of course). But, it wouldn’t be enough support to perform.
The closures are what allow each user to compress the fit further, whether they’re laces, velcro straps, or traditional straps. Despite being firm, the frame of the shoe is also flexible. Only flexible enough to allow the closures to mold the frame to your feet. When tying your shoes, notice how the laces pull the materials together around your feet.
An efficient closure system is one that distributes the tension equally throughout the upper of the shoe. In the case of mid boots and higher, which are most often the preferred shoe top for basket, the closure system must place pressure all the way down the tongue, rather than just the uppermost part.
High Standard Soles
You can’t expect to get any production in your basketball skills without shoes that have good soles. Good soles not only help to improve your performance with more effective quickness in your basketball moves, but they can also help prevent injuries. A shoe without good soles can lead to slipping and falling on the floor. Keep your eye out for basketball footwear that has rubber soles which will give traction that’ll prevent those dangerous slips and enhance your best moves. You should also pay attention to basketball shoes that have multi-directional traction patterns. It’s specifically designed to give you amazing grip in your steps to help you make those quick cuts that’ll shake defenders off of you.
A decent outsole must count with two things; a steady, firm grip and smooth friction. These two are very easy to confuse, and they’re commonly referred to as the same feature – which is wrong. In simple words, the grip is what allows you to hold yourself onto the surface, while the friction is what determines the quality of the movement in relation to the surface.
Despite being two individual things, the grip and the friction must work together to deliver an optimal performance. An outsole that lacks either of them isn’t any good for basketball, as they’re both key parts of the sport.
The best basketball shoes must count with a grip that allows users to stop immediately, regardless of the speed they have and the direction they’re coming from. If you’re approaching the hoop fast and you want to go for a shot, it’s critical that the outsole grips the surface in a manner that it prevents your shoes from moving in any direction once you’ve stopped.
A cheap outsole will be defeated by your momentum, ultimately resulting in slippage or lateral swinging. In order to get a clean shot, any lateral impulse should be neutralized; you only want to move in a vertical dimension when going for the shot to obtain the most accuracy.
You want to get your hands on a quick-action outsole when purchasing basketball shoes.
Some shoes will grip efficiently to the floor when taking a shot or going for a cross-over but will fail to grip when performing quick and continuous movements. Variations of rubber, such as vulcanized rubber, have a slightly stickier surface and helps control fast and forceful motions.
Midsoles are the component responsible for most of the shock absorption process. This is why, in most cases, they’re the thickest and heaviest part of shoes. As you’ll know by now, basketball is a sport that involves a great amount of impact – running and jumping create a lot of shock. If this shock isn’t regulated, your joints, muscles, and bones will be severely affected; not only during the match but in the long run as well.
If you’ve ever had extremely sore heels the day after a basketball match, chances are you were using shoes that lacked a sufficiently absorbing midsole. From the moment of impact, the shock moves up from the surface. The first obstacle it will encounter is the sole, which is why it absorbs most of it. However, shock doesn’t stop there.
There’s always a residual amount of force that keeps going up; usually regulated by the insole and the cushioning of the shoe. But, there’s always some shock that gets to your heels, which is inevitable. This isn’t necessarily bad, the heel is the toughest part of the foot for a reason. Regardless, the less energy that gets to your feet, the better.
Rubber has been for many years the default material for the task of absorption due to its qualities. However, new compounds have been created through playing with synthetic materials and options. These compounds are denser, meaning that they naturally contain more mass. By having more mass, these materials absorb shock more efficiently, but they must have absorbing properties for this, which is why most of them are rubber variants. Mass alone doesn’t guarantee shock absorption.
The flexibility of a basketball shoe is not an element, but rather a feature that must be present in each element of the shoe separately. When shopping for performance shoes, you must make sure that the frame, upper build, and the sole are flexible enough to practice sports with. Flexibility is the very base of most motions you can possibly make with your feet, and if your shoes lack it, you won’t be going too far in a basketball match.
This is a feature that, like many others, should be present but not in excess. The flexibility of a material is inversely proportional to its support; meaning that as a shoe material gets more flexible it starts to lose its structure and fails to hold the foot in place.
Soles are the ones that need the most flexibility. Flexibility could be referred to as the base of nearly all lower body motions. There are very limited feet movements that do not involve flexing or arching the foot.
Without this feature, it would be nearly impossible to run. While it is physically possible, it’s not something you can do for a whole basketball match. Our feet are meant to flex; we do it when we walk, when we jump, and when we run. A shoe the lacks flexibility will limit all of the motions required for an efficient sports performance.
But, a stiff shoe not only affects your performance; it also harms your feet. No matter how you hold it down, your feet will naturally try to flex whenever a motion requires so. Even when wearing stiff shoes, your feet will still try to flex when walking. By preventing feet from doing so, stiff materials generate a lot of tension and stress, particularly on the arch.
As a basketball player, you probably know this better than any other athlete. Ankles are very susceptible to injury when playing an intense game. One wrong quick move with a lack of protection can put you at risk for a sprain that could severely limit you during the game, or potentially keep you from playing for awhile. A great basketball shoe will have a feature to protect your ankles from that, like the mid top feature. It’s designed to give you increased support in your ankles for all your movements. A well-molded collar in a basketball shoe can also be helpful for ankle support, which is a feature basketball player Derrick Rose has had with the shoes he wears.
At the same time, you don’t want ankle support to restrain your movements. Support should only act as a feature that prevents your feet and ankle from assuming unnatural positions that may be hazardous injury-wise, or simply uncomfortable. Too much ankle support will prevent you from rotating freely and will considerably hinder your dribbling ability.
Basketball shoes come in three different types, and depending on which option you go for will affect how much ankle support you have.
- Low Tops
- Mid Tops
- High Tops
The higher the shoe, the better the ankle support, as you will have more material wrapped around the upper part of your ankle, which generally can be tightened or fastened to give you the right fit. The position you play will also make a big difference when it comes to which style you should choose, as each offers it’s own unique set of characteristics.
For positions that need more support, generally because they need quicker pivoting for blocking, etc, a high top is going to really allow you to move with more security and stability. When you need to be quick on the court, a low top will be lighter and give you more speed, a great option also if you want so more height on your jump.
This is a delicate topic. The arch is potentially the part of feet that varies the most from one person to another. Even people that share the natural arch angle and height have slight variations in their anatomy. Because of this, it’s impossible to design a shoe that is suitable for all users and the respective qualities of their specific arch.
Normally, performance shoes have a standard level of arch support which generally suits people that has no arch issues. Users that suffer from arch conditions, whether it’s high arch or flat foot, experience a considerably larger amount of stress on the arch – especially when performing sports.
In these cases, it’s up to the user to solve this. The best choice, regardless of what your feet anatomy is, is to purchase customized insoles. In general, this is something all users with arch conditions must do, as they likely won’t find any shoes that suit their specific condition. But in reality, it’s something every single sportsman should do.
Even if the generic arch design of a shoe fits your anatomy, the best way to go is with an insole that perfectly supports the exact shape of your feet, including the arch. The foot arch is affected by flexion and aerobic performance; if on top of that you add stress generated by the lack of arch support, you’ll have a hard time. This is even more important in practices as active and forceful as basketball.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can basketball shoes make me jump higher?
A: You can certainly jump higher in basketball shoes than you could in high heels. In general though, most of your ability to jump high requires you to develop calf strength. If you work those out consistently, and remember to put most of your weight on the front of your foot when you’re jumping, you’ll be jumping higher in no time.
Q: Can I casually wear basketball shoes on a regular basis?
A: Yes, you can wear basketball shoes casually. They’re generally designed to be comfortable for your feet, which is a benefit if your walking for long periods. In addition, basketball shoes can also make for a great stylish option when you’re going out.
Q: When do I replace my basketball shoes?
A: A strong indication you should replace your basketball shoe is if you have aches on your feet from wearing them. You also may notice the bottom of your shoes starting to look old or really worn down. That’s another indication you should replace your basketball shoes as well. Wearing basketball shoes past the need to replace them can risk injury to your feet.
Q: Do basketball shoes make good running shoes?
A: No. Basketball shoes are specifically designed to give ankle support and maximum shock absorption to help with swift side to side movements along with quick stop and go movements. Basketball shoes also tend to be big and thick, so you won’t get the most effective stride in your steps that you could with the sleekness of running shoes.
Q: How to keep basketball shoes clean?
A: It’s suggested the best way to keep basketball shoes clean is to only wear them for playing basketball. However if you do wear them daily, watch out for mud, and be cautious of how much they get scuffed. When you clean them, it’s important to clean the soles to continue to maintain traction. For a shoe that has leather, you need a special leather cleanser, but water and soap work fine for all other basketball shoes
Q: What kind of basketball shoe do I need for outdoor courts?
A: The most important factor if you’re going to be using your basketball shoes mainly for outdoor courts, is to get a shoe with the best traction. Playing basketball on outdoor courts puts more stress on the soles of the shoe. It would be particularly good to look for footwear with thick rubber soles and elaborate traction patterns so they’ll last longer for you.